The mark of growing older is the realization that everything you want is just an echo of something you used to have.

People come to me after their loved ones died–looking for solace, asking for comfort, wondering how to reallocate grief.

How do I tell them that there is no answer? That at twelve, the only solace was found underneath damp eyelids and soaked pillows? That the only comfort was the belief in the unconsciousness; that the only allocation of grief was from my heart to my mind until I forced my own, sick, manic responsibility for your death?

There is no refuge for your only fear; there is no answer to your own mortality. One day your heroes will die and become your memories. One day your heroes will die and lay beneath the soil you’ll watch strange men bury. One day your heroes will die–and you’ll be the only part of them left living.

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when people ask me if i can dance or sing i say i dont know rhythm but lately ive found my own cadence and its interesting: how far you go when you don’t realize you’re moving

i was twelve when you died
but sixteen when you were gone

i woke up and stopped looking for you in the house you made a home. i woke up and no longer had to remind myself you weren’t around. i woke up and your existence was based solely on your absence

you stayed my favorite person but became my favorite subject. everything that was because of you was suddenly for you; every part of me transformed into reminders that half of my anything was created from all of your everything

its christmas soon and i remember evergreen mixed with your jaipur homme. i remember money greens and marlboro reds; i remember you lifting me to put the angel on the tree and a star on the next

i remember staying up past midnight on every eve you worked; because other children needed a santa but no fiction could be better to me than a reality of you with a day off

i can’t remember the gifts you gave me–just the way i never wanted for anything more but to fall asleep next to you during chow yun fat movies; chastising mom in the kitchen and corralling the boys upstairs

i was five when i asked if it was me that made you work so hard. if i could trade all the toys and stuffed animals for more days off. i was twelve when i thought life was about luxury. thirteen when everything i wanted became everything i used to have. twenty-one; and the thought of you has still been my last one every night.

i woke up and all of our routines became stories
i woke up and all of our traditions became memories

i woke up and the universe found the only way to keep you
from the christmases you promised me were always ours

i woke up and my nightmares stopped being dreams

the midnight when you exist

i miss the drives in your car: the books in my hand, the taste of you left on my lips–reading you stories inbetween kisses, tracing your hands with my fingertips–bookmarking pages with leftover twenty dollar bills and lipstick tubes

stolen glances at stop signs
wondering when it was that you actually became mine

i miss the sound of the engine; the feel of tarmac beneath the ground you moved, the poems leftover on my tongue while i traced the parts of you you told me you didn’t understand how to love

i miss the way my laughter slid inside of yours: the way my smile followed your name–the way you transcribed your childhood through your fingertips because you were too afraid of your lips

i miss the me that forged from you mixed with mine

i wonder what you think of those nights that simmered into mornings; the days that passed like the way you looked at me when i didn’t

you tell me you love me now like i loved you then

but fairytales don’t last and part of me wonders what part of this was ever happy if i never asked for an after

part of growing older means the people you love become people you loved

part of growing older means eventually everyone who left are the ones you forgot you asked to leave

part of growing older means being gracious enough to thank you for the memories
but experienced enough to not make the same mistake

I wonder what it would be like…

I wonder what it would be like to be allowed to feel beautiful.

I wonder what it would be like to be allowed to not feign humility; to not have to believe that we are not wonderful enough to love ourselves.

I wonder what it would be like to feel lovely, and to be allowed to have confidence in how I am loved by the one who matters.

It seems as if everyone’s ideal of me is in me not being me: twenty pounds lighter, four inches longer–curvier with less in the cheeks, more definition of the jaw. It seems as if everyone’s ideal of me was the frail, lithe girl that existed within the confines of her own depression. The me that fought to eat because I fought to understand why I would want to sustain an existence I did not want; a body I no longer wished to house.

It seems as if everyone’s ideal of me turned into my ideal of me; when all I had ever wanted in my life was just to be happy. To be kind. To be understanding. To want to live.

I think the reality is that I would rather be beautiful in the heart and healthy in the soul. To allow myself to no longer worry about if I was beautiful to anyone else except me.

I think the reality is that it’s all unbelievably bullshit: the idea that I am supposed to exist for anyone other than me.

So why

is it so hard to stop?

Somewhere only we know

Lately all I can see is your face; your name–I can hear your laugh, and everything I do is an echo of something we once did.

I miss you because I didn’t when you were alive, and I regret that more than anything because now I look around and there’s this feeling in my heart; a melancholy of my mind that I remember only you could understand. This pretentious, childish ennui of my soul that doesn’t belong but exists. Something that I can’t admit to anyone else because I know it’s undeserving; that we were born too lucky to be sad on our believed misfortunes.

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The story of how I learned of what I was.

When I was young, my mother taught me that she was better on tequila. Now that I’m a little older, I’ve discovered I run on wine.

I used to like to do everything with an equal level of mediocrity, to make sure that everything I did had breathed a level of inadequacy. Because you are born being told what you are, and raised to believe it is all you are. What they don’t tell you is that it’s no longer about what you are.

It’s about what you become.

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